writes "While NASA's commercial partners such as SpaceX and Orbital have made steady progress in developing space cargo transportation technology, they have recently fallen behind their development schedules. Combine that with the fact that the most critical steps lie ahead, including successfully launching new vehicles and completing integration with the space station, and you have a hole that will be tough to climb out of. Those were the two main conclusions of a Government Accountability Office report (PDF) on the status of the commercial space world this week. The GAO went on to say that after the planned retirement of the space shuttle in 2010, NASA will face a cargo resupply shortfall for the International Space Station of approximately 40 metric tons between 2010 and 2015."
Speaking of SpaceX, reader Matt_dk sends along an update on the company's Falcon 9 flight efforts
. "Six of the nine first stage flight engines have completed acceptance testing and all nine flight engines are on schedule to complete acceptance testing by mid-July."